Summer 2013 photos 072

I’ve learned there are certain things I have to avoid as a runner.  I struggle in heat and humidity, so I run early to dodge them.  Some parts of town are considered dangerous for runners, so I take other routes.  If I’m tired and run down, it’s best to duck out of a planned run and rest.  And, I steer clear of spicy, Mexican food the night before a long run.  That was a lesson learned the hard way.

… abstain from every form of evil.  1 Thessalonians 5:22

There are some things in my day-to-day life I know ahead of time I should avoid altogether – things I know will tempt me to make destructive choices.  When my all-time favorite catalog arrives, all too often by the way, I should simply drop it in the recycling bin.  If I don’t immediately recycle it, it makes its way into our home, and I eventually devour it and long for at least 10 items in its pages.  It’s a lovely catalog, but it doesn’t contain one item I need.  Thoughts about how I might justify at least one of the items consume too much time and, in times of weakness, too much money.  For me, it’s harder to resist temptation than to avoid it altogether.  And, it goes beyond catalogs.  I know the people who tempt me to gossip, the opportunities that appeal to my pride, and the situations that entice me to make poor choices.  When I choose to pursue those people and situations, I find myself in a spot that is hard to leave.  And, I realize belatedly I should have avoided it from the beginning.  We can’t avoid everything that challenges us.  We inhabit a broken world and are surrounded with struggle.  Without challenges, we’d fail to improve.  Plenty of trials come our way that we are simply unable to avoid.  So, when I see something ahead that looks tempting, I hope to take the escape route.  Praise the Lord for large recycling bins.

Dear God, please give us the strength to avoid the things we know will tempt us to make destructive choices.